What I learned during hot yoga

Today I did something that I have been wanting to do for quite some time. I tried hot yoga! I generally try to incorporate at least one yoga session per week into my routine. For an increase in strength, flexibility, patience, and a huge reduction in stress levels, yoga is good all around.

For those of you who don’t know, hot yoga is appropriately named due to the practice taking place in a room that is heated anywhere between 85F-122F. The purpose being to warm the muscles, allowing the body to safely go deeper into poses and stretches. The heat also induces sweating in order to detoxify the body through perspiration, while also stimulating the metabolism and immune system.

Currently my body is trying to fight a cold, one which I refuse to succumb to, so I thought hot yoga’s detoxification properties sounded like what my immune system needed.

Going into my first hot yoga class, I definitely had my hesitations. Thoughts of, “what if the room is too hot and I pass out”, “what if the poses are too hard and I can’t handle it”, “what if I begin coughing due to my cold and become the annoying person in class”, flowed through my, slightly stressed, mind. Upon walking into the class, I immediately felt the warmth of the room and also felt my doubts increase. What was I getting myself into?

It turns out that it was one of the best things I could have done for myself today. It’s hard to even explain the feeling I had when walking out of the classroom. Here’s what I can tell you:

When going to hot yoga..
*Keep an open mind. This is often hard to do, but try to stay positive and clear your mind. I definitely struggle with trying to quiet my mind during yoga, but remember yoga is just as much about mental strength as it is physical. Calm your mind. Calm your body.

*Stay within your level. Don’t feel that since a few people around you are moving on to more advanced poses that you have to. Keep your movements to your level and only increase until you feel comfortable. Everyone’s practice is their own, so make yours work for you. Have confidence in your own movements and focus on the strength and calmness of your body.

*It will be uncomfortable. It is hot yoga remember. I found that I kept having to remind myself of that today as sweat began to drip off of me. It may feel uncomfortable for a while, but breathe deeply and focus on how your breath and movements are making you feel. If a few of the poses feel too uncomfortable, back off a little or sit in child’s pose. Yoga is not a place of judgement so don’t be afraid to take breaks if needed.

*Wear something comfortable. This one is extremely important. The room is hot and you will, without a doubt, sweat….a ton. So make sure to wear appropriate clothing. Many times you will see people only wearing shorts and a sports bra in order to minimize the amount of sweaty clothes sticking to them. Whatever you choose to wear, make sure it is breathable and allows for total movement as you twist and stretch into different poses.

*Keep a towel and bottle of water near by. A towel is definitely essential as you will sweat, sweat, and sweat some more. But, after all, that’s the point of the class. Put a towel over your mat or keep one handy to wipe off when needed. Water is also good to keep nearby in case you begin to feel a little too overheated.

I am now a lover of hot yoga for sure and cannot wait to go back again! Another thing to remember is that there are different levels and forms of hot yoga so find one that works for you. The class I attended today was absolutely perfect me. Its main focus was on relaxation and used poses to strengthen and stimulate the immune system, the digestive system, and the detoxification of the body. Absolutely perfect πŸ™‚

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Namaste πŸ™‚


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